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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Name Change

We changed the name of our blog!

We thought the new title and description more fitting. It also "simplifies" our blog entries and combines our pursuits instead of compartmentalizing them by having separate blogs for each endeavor. 

We are indeed on the simplification track, yet getting there seems, well, not "simple" at all. We have been moving our businesses and lives in the northbound direction now for a few years and it is just starting to take shape and feel real to us. We break ground in June! 

The "Enchanted Cedar Forest" trail in the works!
 We began clearing a portion of our new dog mushing trail that will be perfect for beginners as well providing a gateway to more challenging trails for our advanced participants.

Neil learns to "witch" for water.
The weekend was a productive one because, in addition to trail clearing, we met with seven local contractors for our building project. Don from McKeever Well Drilling taught Neil how to "witch" for water. Neil was skeptical at first but he actually found some! We're believers now. 

A solar system that is comparable to the one we will need
 Jerry Lileryd from Sun Energy was kind enough to give us a tour of various systems in the area that he has installed. Our system will consist of solar panels, batteries, an inverter and a generator back up. We're crossing our fingers that the well drillers will find an Artesian well and then we can add hydro power to the mix and not to mention, the potential for a big pond for the dogs! This may be wishful thinking but if you don't put it out into the universe......

Yagy antennae to help boost cell coverage

A big consideration for us, to stay in touch with our customers and the world is phone coverage! There is none. We have a satellite phone that we use for emergencies during our remote adventures but the price of service is not cost effective for this to be our main source of communication. With a Yagy antennae and a Smooth Talker cell phone booster, we should have no trouble having a reliable phone connection. The antennae in the photo is receiving a signal from the towers in Grand Marais, some 30 miles away!
Another big one for us is mosquito season. It is absolutely HORRIBLE for about 2 months. Neil and I can get away from the bugs but the dogs have a more difficult time with it. The dogs are on their third year of garlic supplements during bug season and last year convinced us that it really does work. We had clouds of mosquitoes in the dog yard. It was the worst year on record for the little buggars. And wouldn't you know, there were very few actually ON the dogs. So, we'll continue feeding garlic seasonally. We're also designing the dog yard so that it will have good air flow and circulation from the direction of the prevailing winds. Something called a Skitter Vac will be placed nearby to help suck up any skitter that hasn't seen the no trespassing sign. A Skitter Vac is powered by propane which has a low carbon footprint as it has a byproduct of water. This machine emits carbon dioxide which attracts the bugs then it sucks them up! Love it!

What else?! Lots. Gosh, there are so many things to take into consideration and new things pop up all the time. We just have been and will continue to just go with the flow and take things as they come and turn our compass in the direction of "simple".

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Puppy Weights

Misquah, Irish and Arrow Canicross walking with Joel and Neil

The Topa/Oken puppies are now 16 weeks old. A visit to the vet confirmed weights as follows:

Misquah - 33lbs
Irish - 34lbs
Arrow - 34lbs

Rommel and Rayna went in for their Rabies shots today, as well. Rommel is now just past 6 months with Rayna just past 5 months.

Rommel - 62lbs
Rayna - 54lb

All of the Points Unknown puppies are growing so fast! Hard to believe they will all be in harness with the team next year!

Points Unknown 2011-2012 Winter Season

Tuloon and Journey leading a team being mushed by one of our advanced participants

With a lot of photos to share from all of our adventures this winter, we decided to make them available to you on our Shutterfly account rather than post them here; there are hundreds! Please visit this account at Points Unknown Photo Albums. Then you can take your time looking at the albums and photos you choose.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Topa/Oken Puppies; 16 Weeks Old on a Canicross Walk

Hailey with Irish, Misquah and  Arrow this evening after a long Canicross walk.

Click Here for Video

16 week olds, Misquah, Arrow and Irish took us for a walk today!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Feature in the Local Newspaper

Me with Oken
 The Carver County Gold Miner did a nice feature on Points Unknown recently. Check it out by clicking here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Points Unknown Semen Analysis

Oken goes away with the coveted Mr. M squared title

What a catchy title for this post...... We spent the morning with Ilo, Phoenix and Oken at the Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital which is known for its quality reproduction department. With donations that came in for the recent litter of puppies that were placed in Hedlund Husky Preservation Project homes, we had enough to have semen extracted from three of our Hedlund Husky males to be used at some point when they may not be able to produce such samples live.

When freezing semen, the sample is tested for two very important things. Motility is the first and it simply means "how well the little guys move and how fast". The second test is for the Morphology which, when plainly stated, means the "quality" of the sperm. A normal morphology is anything at or above 80%.

Here where our stats!

Ilo is a 3/4 Hedlund Husky with 1/4 Joe Redington Sr Alaskan Husky lineage. He was born in December of 2003. His sperm count was 690 MILLION with an EXCELLENT motility and a morphology of 90%. He produced FOUR breeding units for our program.

Phoenix is Ilo's son and is a deep line Hedlund Husky. He was born in November of 2005. His sperm count was 1.2 BILLION (that's with a B) with a GOOD motility and a morphology of 86%. He produced SIX breeding units for our program.

Oken is half Hedlund Husky and half  Points Unknown Zulu lineage. He was born in September of 2007. His sperm count was 800 MILLION with an EXCELLENT motility and a morphology of 95%. He produced FIVE breeding units for our program.

How do they count the sperm, you ask? They actually have a machine that does this! Really!

So the breeding units produced today from these strapping motile males join the NINE breeding units left by our very own McKenzie. He was eight years old when he provided his sample. He also had a little more help than our boys today. Zala was in heat at the time and she came along for the ride which apparently can as much as double the number of breeding units. Had I known this before taking the boys, I would have taken them last week with Illy! We did get a good number of breeding units, nonetheless, to help further our efforts and provide us with what could have been lost genetics had we not banked them now. 

The boys went away from their experience with a proud smile, certainly considering what good they had done this morning for the project. They took the opportunity to nap on the long car ride home. Once home, they each ate a big meal. They are now, once again, napping.